November 20, 2012
Court Ends Six-Year Seizure of Zimbabwe Churches
Excommunicated Anglican bishop kicked out mainstream clergy with support of police.
Zimbabwe's highest court has ruled in favor of the country's mainstream Anglican Church, ordering bishop Nolbert Kunonga to return Anglican worship sites he seized after being excommunicated in 2007.
According to the Associated Press, Kunonga founded his own diocese in the capital city Harare six years ago. However, he "held the Anglican Cathedral in Harare and several other churches, with the help of police."
But the supreme court found that Kunonga had no legal right to the properties, overturning a previous court ruling in his favor.
“When one leaves a club, one does not take its property with him or her," the ruling stated. "(When) one or more people secede from an existing church, they have no right to claim church property even if those who remain members of the congregation are in the minority."
Control of the properties will now be returned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa and Harare diocese bishop Chad Gandiya.